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Language Shift and Maintenance among Russian immigrants from the former Soviet Union

Abstract

The resolution of the language question—whether to maintain the mother tongue, shift to the mainstream language, or try to maintain two or more languages in the family—creates significant psychological complications and linguistic reflections. Methods of sourcing these challenges vary, but the most effective data source to date is the the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) data set. It helps to address the quantitative part of this research. Findings suggest that weak tendencies toward language revitalization could be explained by the influx of Russianspeaking immigrants to the United States between 1990 and 2000, when opportunities for Russians/Russian speakers to communicate in their native language sharply increased. However, in the big picture, this occurrence did not reverse the continuing shift from Russian to English. Multivariate analysis suggests that the strongest effects are related to linguistic isolation and the number of generations living within the same household, both of which tend to be positively associated with multilingualism.

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Kasatkina, N., (2011) “Language Shift and Maintenance among Russian immigrants from the former Soviet Union”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 18, p.35-54.

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Natalia Kasatkina (Pastuhov State Academy)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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